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Felix Bierbrauer

Research focuses

Optimal Taxation, Public Goods, Political Economy, Economic Theory

Curriculum vitae

Academic Positions:

  • Since 2011 Professor, Chair for Public Economics and Center for Macroeconomic Research, University of Cologne, Germany
  • 2010 - 2011 Visiting Professor, University of Mannheim, Germany
  • 2006 - 2011 Senior Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany
  • 2006 - 2007 Visiting Scholar, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA
  • 2004 - 2006 Research assistant, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany
  • 2002 - 2004 Research and teaching assistant for Professor Martin Hellwig, University of Mannheim, Germany


  • 2006 Dissertation, University of Mannheim. Title: Essays on Public Goods Provision and Income Taxation“, 
  • 2002 - 2006 Doctoral student, Center for Doctoral Studies in Economics, University of Mannheim
  • 2002 Diploma in Economics, University of Mannheim
  • 1997 - 2002 Studies in economics at the universities of Saarbrücken, Mannheim, and Tilburg (Netherlands)

Further Professional Activities:

  • 2018 – 2020 Spokesperson, Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy
  • Since 12/2019 Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) Fellow
  • Since 2018 Board of Academic Advisors, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • 2017 - 2020 Member of Executive Board, Reinhard Selten Institute
  • Since  2011 Research Affiliate, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

An even more detailed curriculum vitae is available for download on the website of the Center for Macroeconomic Research

Selected publications

  • Taxes and Turnout, with Aleh Tsyvinski and Nicolas Werquin, American Economic Review, vol. 112, pp. 689-719, 2022.
  • Politically Feasible Reforms of Nonlinear Tax Systems, with Pierre Boyer and Andreas Peichl, American Economic Review, vol. 111, pp. 153-91, 2021. ˆ
  • Harry Potter and the welfare of the willfully blinded, In: Deliberate Ignorance: Choosing not to know, edited by R. Hertwig and C. Engel. Strüngmann Forum Reports, vol 29. Cambridge, MA: MIT press, 2021.
  • All or nothing: State capacity and optimal public goods provision, with Justus Winkelmann, Journal of Economic Theory, vol. 185, pp. 1049-55, 2020.
  • Robust Mechanism Design and Social Preferences, with Axel Ockenfels, Andreas Pollak and Desiree Rueckert, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 149, pp. 59-80, 2017. ˆ
  • Mechanism Design and Intentions, with Nick Netzer, forthcoming, Journal of Economic Theory.
  • Robustly Coalition-Proof Incentive Mechanisms for Public Good Provision are Voting Mechanisms and Vice Versa, with Martin Hellwig, forthcoming, Review of Economic Studies.
  • Efficiency, Welfare and Political Competition, with Pierre Boyer, Quarterly Journal of Economics, vol. 131, pp. 461-518,2016.
  • Tax incidence for fragile financial markets, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 120, pp. 107-125, 2014.
  • The Pareto-frontier in a simple Mirrleesian model of income taxation, with Pierre Boyer, Annals of Economics and Statistics, vol. 113/114, pp. 185-206, 2014.
  • Optimal tax and expenditure policy with aggregate uncertainty, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, vol. 6, pp. 205-257, 2014.
  • Strategic Nonlinear Income Tax Competition with Perfect Labor Mobility, with Craig Brett and John A. Weymark, Games and Economic Behavior, vol. 82, pp. 292-311, 2013.
  • Political competition and Mirrleesian income taxation: A first pass, with Pierre Boyer, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 103, pp 1-14 (lead article), 2013.
  • Distortionary Taxation and the Free-Rider Problem, International Tax and Public Finance, vol. 19, pp. 732-752, 2012.
  • On the optimality of optimal income taxation, Journal of Economic Theory, vol. 146, pp. 2105-2116, 2011.
  • Incomplete contracts and excludable public goods, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 95, pp. 553-569, 2011.
  • Optimal democratic mechanisms for taxation and public-good provision, with Marco Sahm, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 94, pp. 453-466, 2010.
  • A Note on Optimal Income Taxation, Public Goods Provision and Robust Mechanism Design, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 93, pp. 667-670, 2009.
  • Optimal Income Taxation and Public Good Provision with Endogenous Interest Groups, Journal of Public Economic Theory, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 311-342, 2009.

Publications in German

  • Mehrheitsfähige und wohlfahrtssteigernde Reformen des deutschen Steuer- und Transfersystems: Von Entzugsraten, Mittelstands- und Wohlstandsbäuchen, mit Andreas Peichl, Dominik Sachs und Daniel Weisshaar, Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 191-202, 2021.
  • Effizienz oder Gerechtigkeit:Ungleiche Einkommen, ungleiche Vermögen und optimale Steuern, Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Ausgabe 17(1), pp. 2-24, 2016.

Working Papers

  • Pareto-improving tax reforms and the Earned Income Tax Credit, with Pierre Boyer and Emanuel Hansen, August 2021 (Revise and Resubmit, Econometrica)
  • Competitive Gerrymandering and the Popular Vote, with Mattias Polborn, October 2021

Selected media publications

Contributions to Policy Blogs

  • Tax reforms and politcal feasibility, with Pierre C. Boyer, Andrew Lonsdale and Andreas Peichl, IPP Policy Brief n°74, September 2021 ˆ
  • Towards politically feasible and welfare-improving tax reforms, with Pierre Boyer and Andreas Peichl, VoxEU column, October 2020
  • Steuervermeidung vermeiden. Sollen wir das wollen? Ifo Schnelldienst, Ausgabe 11/2013.
  • Die Wirkung einer Finanztransaktionssteuer auf ein instabiles Finanzsystem, Ökonomenstimme, September 2012.


  • An interview of John Weymark, with Claude d’Aspremont in Marc Fleurbaey and Maurice Salles, Eds., Conversations on Social Choice and Welfare Theory – Vol. 1, 2021
  • Essays on Public Goods Provision and Income Taxation, Dissertation, University of Mannheim, 2006